Here at FemaleFirst we know there’s nothing like spending a couple of days living it up at a festival. But shock, horror not all festivals involve mud, Wellington boots and portaloos… so I have come up with the best of the rest to amuse you during the final February 2009. Enjoy!
When: The 10 days around Ash Wednesday
Where: Oruro, Bolivia
What: The Oruro Carnival is Bolivia’s largest annual celebration which draws in about 400,000 people every year thanks to it’s extraordinary centrepiece, La Diablada - The Dance Of The Devil.
The 4km long procession takes place on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and features so many entertainers that it can actually last up to 20 hours. The whole debacle follows a brightly costumes San Miguel character, and behind him come the more famous devils and a whole host of other beings.
The chief devil, Lucifer, get’s treated to the best costume, obviously, and swans around in a velvet cape and ornate mask, naturally. The rest of the procession follows and is drenched in jewels and precious metals with offerings for the owner of the underground minerals, El Tio.
When the procession arrives at the city’s football stadium there is a huge performance which shows the battle between good and evil - wow, that must take some dedicated choreographer! After it is apparent that good has triumphed over evil - horary - the dancers can finally head home and put their feet up.
The festival continues throughout the week before the grand finale on the Monday after Ash Wednesday, which is known ad the Dia del Agua - the day of water - and involves everyone pelting each other with water bombs.
When: The four Sunday’s leading up to Lent.
Where: Viareggio, Italy
What: This is one of Europe’s best carnivals and is second only to Venice’s Carnevale in party spirit… so let’s get our glad rags on and head down yes?
Although stretching itself across a whopping four Sunday’s might be a little bit too heavy for those party lightweights amongst you, each week focuses on a parade of multi-coloured floats which can carry up to 200 people.
The floats contain anything their creative owners can create out of Art Attack favourite, Papier Mache! It’s an absolute ‘thing to see before you die’ event; and the effigies and statues are completely breathtaking.
When: Last week before Lent
Where: Vassilyevsky Spusk, Moscow, Russia
What: This is Russia’s answer to Mardi Gras and is the only Pagan festival to survive long enough to mark the end of Winter and the onset of Spring; and it’s centred around food… yummy!
First of all, the word Maslenitsa comes from the Russian for Butter, and is a key ingredient in the festival’s trademark food; pancakes. But as well as stuffing your face with the doughy delights, the week-long festival features horse-drawn carriages, story-telling clowns and beer-drinking bears… Yes you could be forgiven for wondering if there is opium baked into your pancakes!
Jenadriyah National Festival
When: Late February or Early March
Where: Al Jenadriyah, Saudi Arabia
What: Okay, so it’s only really spectator only, which means you can’t get your hands dirty, but with a massive Camel race kicking proceedings off, what better thing do you have to do?
The programme crams in traditional dances, songs and poetry competitions as well as a lovely exhibition of arts and crafts from around the country. That’s iof you can blag yourself in though, because Saudi Arabia is one of the Earth’s last remaining forbidden kingdoms… good luck!